Category: Science

What Part Neanderthal Are You?

8232Turns out, there’s a little Neanderthal in all of us.

• In 2010, Svante Pääbo and his colleagues unveiled the Neanderthal genome.

• Pääbo is a biologist and evolutionary anthropologist. He is also the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

• His research shows that Humans and Neanderthals interbred in the prehistoric past.

• Thus Neanderthal DNA makes up 1% to 2% of the genome of many modern humans…

• …Except Africans, who have no Neanderthal contribution. (Watch the video to learn why).

• Our Neanderthal relatives became extinct 30,000 years ago. See what other extinct forms of humans there are.

What makes humans human? Find out:

Watch A Neanderthal Perspective on Human Origins with Svante Pääbo.

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Eight (Really) Big Ideas in Science

8232Eight UC Berkeley Lab scientists present eight game-changing concepts in eight minutes each. You can watch one at a time, but once you get started, you might not want to stop.

Inspired by the problems of our time and the mysteries of the universe, these scientists are working to answer questions we may have never thought to ask – and they’re succeeding. For instance:

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a “Google” for materials – a way to enter certain properties and easily find materials that meet those properties?

What about Mass Spectrometry Imaging – what is it and how could it revolutionize medicine?

What does an atom really look like… in 3-D?

Can we generate electricity from viruses? (Hint: yes!)

What about materials? Can we put two materials together to generate energy?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a pill to treat people exposed to radioactive material?

Can computers be used to search for supernovae, the largest explosions in the universe?

And finally, physicist Ian Hinchliffe answers perhaps the most important question of all – why should we care about fundamental research? (He also talks about the Higgs…)

Watch Eight Big Ideas 2013 – Science at the Theater to learn more about the incredible work at UC Berkeley.

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That’s One Smart Puppy!

8232Hey! Do you want to know what causes magnetism, have a real sense of how small atoms are, or see that sometimes physics allows things that, well, seem like magic?

Or, do you just want to watch cute puppies and kitties?

Well, now you can have both!

Smart Puppy and Friends is a new series of short science videos for kids. (Hey, we’re all a kid inside somewhere, right?) With support from both the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society, the wacky duo at Not Too Serious Labs decided to turn science educa – er, I mean science entertainment on it’s head to bring physics and materials concepts like magnetism and quantum tunneling to unsuspecting internet visitors in search of cute animal tricks.

What? That’s cheating you say!? You bet! People looking for physics can find physics online — a lot of it. But people not looking for physics? Well, we don’t want anyone to miss out. So we’re putting a friendly, lovable and entertaining face on the sometimes intimidating subjects of physics and science in general. Who doesn’t like the antics of a cute puppy or kitten? And when it’s a lovable puppy and kittens that talk, the kid in all of us responds. Khan Academy it’s not – there are no long lessons. But you will still learn something… and you won’t even know that you did!

Watch Smart Puppy and Friends today!

If you like this, you may also like When Things Get Small from Not Too Serious Labs.

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Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code

8232Have you ever wondered where your eye color comes from, or why a certain disease runs in your family? As DNA sequencing becomes more common, you may soon have the opportunity to learn how your genomic makeup contributes to your traits and to your health.

New discoveries in genomic medicine are being made every day. Not only have researchers identified thousands of genetic variants that cause or contribute to common and rare diseases, they’ve also found some that can protect you from disease.

In this UCSD-TV presentation, Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code, Dr. Eric Green, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute offers an update on the human genome and medical genomics; Dr. Gary Firestein, director of UC San Diego’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute explains how we are more than our genes; and Dr. Razelle Kurzrock, the director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy at the Moores Cancer Center looks ahead to the future of genomics and cancer medicine. This program is presented by the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology in San Diego.

Watch Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code.

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How Does an El Niño Affect California?

8232Mola-Mola in Valdez Alaska? Striped Marlin off Oregon?

On one hand, an El Niño event may bring torrential rains, flooding, mudslides, huge pacific storms and coastal erosion.

On the other, it warms the ocean, generates big surf, saves on heating costs, and increases surplus water supplies.

Is it all bad?

Renowned El Niño prediction expert David Pierce explains the conditions that predict an El Nino event, what we can do to prepare for one, and if one is coming our way.

Watch How Does an El Niño Affect California?

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